From allegations against Ezra Miller to legal battles against Amber Heard, the DC Cinematic Universe is cursed

A Flash-based film starring Ezra Miller as the eponymous hypersonic DC superhero is slated to hit theaters in 13 months. Everything was going according to plan — trailers hit the internet, a comic tie-in is set to be printed — until suddenly it wasn’t the case.

Earlier this spring, Miller filed an impressive array of criminal charges, including disorderly conduct, harassment and second-degree assault, amid one of the strangest career-changing fiascos in recent celebrity memory. For the past few weeks, news has been trickling out of Hawaii, where all of these incidents took place, and painted Miller as a crazed, Joker-like supervillain terrorizing the islands’ residents.

In March, the actor was booked for “obscenely yelling” at patrons at a karaoke bar and allegedly “lunging” at a man playing darts. (A high-risk maneuver! Miller pleaded no contest.) A month later, the actor apparently threw a chair at a woman attending a private meeting, leaving a wound on her forehead.

This also wasn’t the first time Miller has been in the news for alleged assault. Videos of what appeared to be them choking a woman surfaced online last April just before the release of HBO Max’s Buzzy Zack Snyder’s Justice Leaguealso known “The Snyder Cut.”

However, Three Strikes and Miller could be out, with reports following that DC may have put the actor on hold for any future projects.

All of this has put Warner Bros. in another unfortunate position. The studio tasked with bringing DC to the big screen has spent decades summoning the same international resonance and copious amounts of box office that MCU has generated for its own high-quality pantheon of superheroes. And now his latest high-profile attempt is being hit by a very public meltdown – one that could potentially lead to its downfall Years of the multi-billion dollar franchise build-up.

It’s an eventuality no one could have prepared for. And if you’ve been following DC’s recent film endeavors closely, you know there’s always another disaster just around the corner.

Where do you even start with these setbacks? I tend to think that the original sin was 2011 Green Lantern Customization: a tangled mess that was barely balanced and critically bombed. The failure sent the entire DC leadership back to the drawing board, resulting in Ryan Reynolds running across the hall where he stepped into the Deadpool suit and dumped a truckload of money into Sony’s overflowing coffers.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. attempted to rebrand the DC Universe with the help of the perpetually moody Zach Snyder, who was hired to bless the canon with his characteristically dour, candid frankness. The result? 2013 is absolutely moodless Man of Steel, followed by batman vs superman, which brought in a whopping 29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. More importantly, it gave us an immortal Ben Affleck meme during the press tour – documenting his reaction when he learns, to his horror, that the film is getting “mixed reviews.” (Affleck would only play Batman one more time before leaving the DC ecosystem entirely.)

This should all culminate in 2017 justice league, an intra-universe mashup of every iconic figure in the DC cosmology to bring the listless franchise into perspective. Warner Bros. initially had Snyder on filming, but he retired from the film after the tragic death of his daughter in post-production.

Production switched to Joss Whedon, who successfully incorporated a sense of ringing, family levity The Avengers five years earlier. He scrapped almost everything with a series of retakes and fakes justice league into a smooth, joking romp that evaporated completely on impact, seemingly leaving everyone involved dissatisfied.

Ray Fisher as Cyborg in justice league. After the film’s release, Fisher spoke out against pinch-hitter director Joss Whedon, who Fisher claimed was “abusive” to the cast and crew on set.

Warner Bros. about the Everett Collection

The controversy continued even after the release of this film.

Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg, reportedly had a massive falling out with studio executives and Whedon in particular, which he called extremely unprofessional and abusive. And Fisher wasn’t alone. A number of his justice league Colleagues confirmed his allegations.

In 2020, Whedon was accused of workplace harassment by several former employees, including Buffy the vampire slayer Star Michelle Trachtenberg, who said there was a rule on set that she couldn’t be alone with Whedon. Trachtenberg was a teenager in the heights of Buffy, So the implications of this accusation are chilling. Having burned almost all of his bridges — not to mention the disdain for the film from critics and fans alike — it was clear that Whedon was going to do it not no longer serve DC companies.

I don’t know if Warner Bros. decision makers were aware of Whedon’s reputation before calling him justice league, but DC’s patchy track record of contestants speaks for itself.

We already covered Ezra Miller, Maui Menace. There’s Amber Heard, who stars in “Actually-Pretty-Good” as Mera Aquaman and is currently being brigaded by a legion of radicalized, conspiratorial Johnny Depp fans. (Every day they dissect the ticker tape of the process between the two with an accuracy almost equal to QAnon.)

“There is a revealing identity crisis here. The thing is, Marvel movies tend to be either just good or just bad, with little behind-the-scenes dirt coloring the on-screen action. DC, on the other hand, is all drama all the time.”

Additionally, Gal Gadot, better known as Wonder Woman, is responsible for the Imagine video — which is perhaps the most bizarre relic of the early pandemic era. And let’s not forget director Todd Phillips, who made some outstandingly stupid remarks about cancel culture and briefly derailed the also-actually-pretty-good discourse joker.

There is a revealing identity crisis here. The thing is, Marvel movies tend to be either just good or just bad, with little behind-the-scenes dirt coloring the on-screen action. DC, on the other hand, is all drama all the time. You must be familiar with countless offended Reddit fan theories to understand why a “Snyder Cut” was necessary justice league first of all. In that sense, the DCEU is just as tense and convoluted as the average comic book story.

It’s particularly striking when we consider how much more iconic DC’s stable is. Honestly, we’ve kind of become numb to Marvel’s unprecedented cultural dominance. The idea that Iron Man – Iron Man of all things – would somehow become more popular than Superman was completely unthinkable in 2005.

The MCU gets tougher with each passing year, taking on bolder marketing challenges until it’s able to make Rocket Raccoon and Moon Knight household names. (I can only assume that a Squirrel Girl series is right around the corner.) DC, meanwhile, has a century’s worth of Batman stories to pull from and still can’t back down.

Jason Momoa and Amber Heard in Aquaman.

Jason Momoa (left) and Amber Heard as Aquaman and Mera in 2018 Aquaman. The sequel is slated for release in March 2023, but Heard recently said her role has been greatly reduced due to her legal battles with ex-husband Johnny Depp.

Warner Bros. about the Everett Collection

It’s fair to say that Marvel got lucky; after all, it doesn’t have to be a rampaging neighborhood agitator who will soon be playing one of their premiere superheroes. (All that Disney money certainly helps, too.) But the MCU also picked up a turning point royalty lawsuit from Scarlett Johansson, some really bad movies, and – most prominently – literal death by Chadwick Boseman, who starred in the greatest Marvel movie of all time.

The MCU has persevered on the strength of its brand’s sheer power while DC is stuck in the mud and WB wonders if it needs to recast The Flash The Lightning.

I think the moral here is that cinematic universes were probably never meant to be. The MCU is an unprecedented feat of meta-storytelling, developed by a starving fanbase, stifling contracts, and a true star machine at its core. So many things had to go right for Marvel to reach its greatness, and perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised if the house of cards inevitably comes crashing down. (Remember the Dark Universe?)

The DCEU, meanwhile, is in turmoil because The Lightning is in turmoil. The Miller drama will, of course, lead to myriad other ramifications as Warner Bros. continues to blow the maw with extrapolating content. The imperatives only get murkier as the vines stretch, and I’m sure that one day soon the MCU too will be thrown into chaos due to factors beyond their control – the man cast as Galactus brings one gun in a nightclub or something.

Some of the greatest genre films ever made have been condensed into a trilogy, including the best tales of the Dark Knight himself. And I don’t think anyone is surprised that the DC entries that have existed outside the canopy (joker, The Batman, and so on) were relatively resounding successes. I’m sure there’s a lot of frustration at Warner Bros. as it stares at the accelerating pace of release and hopes Miller doesn’t humble himself again ahead of the film’s trailer debut.

But maybe that also awakens a memory of movies Second hand to be before everything was up and running for half a dozen linked sequels already in the pipeline. Maybe all you ever really needed was a superhero and a supervillain, even if that villain is Gorilla Grodd. From allegations against Ezra Miller to legal battles against Amber Heard, the DC Cinematic Universe is cursed


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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